Plumerias are strange, stumpy plants that produce the most exotic flowers. Their milky, thick, fragrant flowers, which grow in a variety of colors from fuchsia to white with subtle yellow and everything in between, are used to make beautiful Hawaiian leis.
A friend gifted us a Plumeria stalk which we planted in our old backyard. Its blooms were arresting, so when we moved, I took a cutting to bring the beauty to our new address.
And so, a strange, stumpy stalk has been sitting in a pot on our doorstep for months. My kids have taunted me, telling me it is dead. To be honest, I can’t fault them for their teasing, as it has most certainly appeared dead, even to me.
The other day, a tiny leaflet appeared from the stump, and I nearly burst into tears. Lest you think I am that crazy plant lady, I need you to understand why a single leaflet led me worship.
Of late, my soul has felt like my stumpy cutting has looked. It seems that only uncomely things have been coming out of my heart this summer. I am doing the things I know to do, remaining in the Word, fighting to take my thoughts captive, praying and pondering; yet, I have felt like a barren stump.
My soul has felt withered and tight, trapped and taut. With each passing week, my heart became more and more frantic, desperately wanting to feel and sense His presence, to see His face.
What am I doing wrong? Where are the flowers? Is there something wrong?
It has taken a great amount of effort to remain potted, to simply stay where God has me and my soul.
The Lord has had my soul idling in Isaiah 30, the Scripture I run to in barren places, clinging to His word rather than my feelings (or lack thereof).
Therefore, the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
Isaiah 30: 18-20.
It helps me to know that in my waiting for His presence, for His face to shine through my numbness, the Lord, too, is waiting. He is actively waiting, preparing, positioning Himself to move in my seemingly stagnant soul. He bids me remain and trust His character and promises, not my discipline, ability to stir up my own soul or pathetic attempts to produce forced blossoms.
He hears my desperate cries for deliverance from the stuck places of sin, for a vibrant walk with Him. And He promises that even after what has felt like scant rations in the unfavorable climate of my soul, I will see Him.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Wait. Stay potted. Abide. Remain. Keep watering what appears to be dead. Don’t trust in appearances, trust in His promises.
These have been my watchwords of late, which is why two little blades of life coming from my stumpy cutting filled me with timely hope.
If your soul feels stagnant and stumpy, barren and bald, I pray my slowly growing and gradually returning to beauty Plumeria plants hope in your soul.